Reef Check carried out the first global survey of coral reefs in 1997. The results provided the first scientific evidence of the global extent of the coral reef crisis. Subsequent surveys of hundreds of reefs by thousands of volunteer divers each year have documented a dramatic decline in coral reef health, a decline our teams of citizen scientists are actively trying to combat. In 2005, our California program was launched to track the health of rocky reefs along the state's entire coastline.
Survey results from both our California rocky reef and tropical coral reef monitoring programs are available on our Google Earth-based online database, the Global Reef Tracker. Visit the database to view reef health information collected during over 10,000 surveys from countries across the globe.
Reports & Publications
Visit our Publications page to download Reef Check's reports and peer-reviewed journal and technical reports featuring Reef Check data.
In 2014, Reef Check's California program published a summary of its first six years of data collection, documenting dramatic declines in fish populations on rocky reefs along the California coast since the 1970s. The report shows that the public-private partnership between Reef Check and the state provides a cost-effective solution to track changes in the marine environment in a state with a 1000-mile long coast, rough seas, great white sharks and limited government staff available to carry out underwater surveys.
As California has implemented a statewide network of marine protected areas (MPAs), Reef Check California has partnered with state agencies, the Ocean Science Trust, Ocean Protection Council and other monitoring programs to establish ecological baselines for the marine
environment as MPAs were established consecutively in four regions of the state.
Reef Check has monitored rocky reefs and kelp forests inside and outside of MPAs in all regions and has continued long-term monitoring of these sites. This statewide MPA monitoring effort has led to one of the geographically largest long-term monitoring data sets of the rocky reef and kelp forest ecosystem in California. More about Reef Check's involvement in the MLPA MPA baseline monitoring can be found here.
In 2014, Reef Check was named one of three finalists for the prestigious St Andrews Prize for the Environment. The Prize is a joint environmental initiative by the University of St Andrews in Scotland and independent exploration and production company ConocoPhillips, which aims to find practical solutions to environmental challenges from around the globe.